Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Disney Shutters 'Epic Mickey' Studio Junction Point

US role-playing and computer game designer, Warren Spector poses on October 27, 2010 in Paris during the Paris Games week to be held until October 31. Spector notably designed the upcoming Disney Epic Mickey game with 2D cinemas. (Image credit: AFP/Getty Images via @daylife)

While the ambitious Disney Infinity looks poised for global success, the house of mouse continues its move away from console-specific game development today with the closure of Junction Point.

Of the closure, Disney had this to say via an email statement: “It was with much sadness that we informed our teams today of changes to our Games organization, which include the closure of Junction Point Studios. These changes are part of our ongoing effort to address the fast-evolving gaming platforms and marketplace and to align resources against our key priorities. We’re extremely grateful to Warren Spector and the Junction Point team for their creative contributions to Disney with Disney Epic Mickey and Disney Epic Mickey 2.”

This ongoing effort began when John Pleasants and James Pitaro took over at Disney Interactive. In early 2011, they told the LA Times “we must continuously evaluate our structure and organization and its needs in order to make Disney’s digital content and businesses even more robust and successful.”

In 2011, Disney Interactive also shut down Black Rock Studio, the team responsible for the thrilling racers Split/Second and Pure, both of which performed exponentially better on Metacritic with an average of 85%. While they were critically acclaimed, they failed to meet sales expectations.

Earlier in 2011, they shuttered Propaganda, the team responsible for the Tron Evolution tie-in game.

I thought Disney Epic Mickey was a delightful, if slightly flawed game. However, Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two earned a disappointing 59% on aggregate site Metacritic, which to many publishers is a proverbial nail in the coffin. In the series’ leap to HD consoles, Junction Point still couldn’t perfect the awkward camera angles, and the game was criticized for not packing in enough innovation — something critics know Warren Spector is capable of.

Read More: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jasonevangelho/2013/01/29/disney-shutters-epic-mickey-studio-junction-point/?partner=yahootix

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